She melted in my arms–reaching her limit, empty from all the tears she poured out on the eve of my birthday. It wasn’t what she had hoped for. In her mind, she wanted the grandest birthday ever to overshadow the many years before for her mom. The anxieties were real, the grief heavy, the disappointment beyond her ability to shoulder.
She tried to stop her brother from blowing out the candles before I could. Kathleen could sense his inching toward the cake she had poured every ounce of love and attention into all afternoon. The tensions rose in her body and up into her face–stop him, stop him before he ruins another birthday for mom, that’s all she could think in those moments. While the flames flickered on top of the beautiful peppermint, double layer, chocolate drizzled gift before me, the dialog grew thick and loud between them, turning into quite an interruption before I made my wish and blew out the candles.
The stress spun and drove her to her grandmother’s bedroom grieving and I knew I couldn’t enjoy a first bite without her sitting across from me at the dining room table. Chaos couldn’t win. Confusion couldn’t win. I wouldn’t sit by and allow my kids to carry such pressure to make my birthday anything but what it already was–a beautiful blessing. I felt overwhelmed by the reality all day–I’m so loved by my Creator and He reminded me often on the day we celebrated. I get to mother some of the most amazing sons and daughters who truly feel, who truly love, and who truly give me more than any one birthday ever would–every single day. I was reminded in those moments sitting with her–my purpose in Christ, the plans he still intends only for me to carry out, and that my living behind the scenes as a mother on this planet–matters. It matters in the hectic moments, it matters in the moments I’m alone praying for them, and it matters in the silent moments when my arms are wrapped around my sobbing fifteen-year-old. This birthday reminded me of my value and how could I not be thankful?
It was just too much for Kathleen though–a brother’s behaviors she couldn’t control and overreactions by him that she couldn’t tame nor understand. My daughter’s limit met her limitless God that night only because mine had been met so many times before. She hit that overwhelming wall that said–there’s no way you can overcome this situation but the reality of God’s able love and forgiveness helped her scale it instead. She found victory as soon as she dropped every one of her unrealistic expectations, allowed them to shatter to a million pieces, and surrendered the whole situation to her Father. That night, Kathleen’s limit was a blessing to her faith and helped her take another leap in her maturing relationship in Christ.
Thank you God, for showing us all our limits–
where we must end and Your amazing grace begins!
“All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another,
because, “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.”
Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he
may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him
because he cares for you.”
I Peter 5:5b-7